Is SESB Going Down The China Way, Or Higher Tariffs In The New Year?

A MANAGEMENT BUY OUT (MBO) IS WORTH EXPLORING AS THE PERSONNEL ARE IN PLACE AND FOR THE PROFESSIONAL MANAGERS IT IS MORE APPEALING OF BEING BUSINESS OWNERS THAN EMPLOYEES

COMMENT: Local consumers have been moaning and groaning for a long time about our ever so often interrupted power supply to the point most have now resigned to the fact that we simply have to live with it.

When our utility company SESB was privatised in September 1998, with Tenaga Nasional (TNB) acquiring an 82.75% stake, and the tiny balance left with the State Government; expectations were high that at long last we would get our uninterrupted supply – after all they had the expertise and the personnel, so we thought.

To our (Sabahans) dismay, we found out the performance was not much better from our former SEB; at least then local personnel were at the helm.

TNB Has been just a big disappointment.

Blackouts in certain areas were just as frequent, some businesses even saw it fit for them to have their own gen sets on their premises. Knowing Sabahans penchant for humour, even in trying times, the joke then was that SEB stood for Sabah Everyday Blackout.

Now with Maximus Ongkili, the Energy, Green Technology and Water minister saying that SESB was on the verge of being bankrupt, many were shocked thinking all along it was better managed.

The basic reason according to Max was because the cost of energy production of 56.50 sen/kwh was higher than the current average tariff of 34.52 sen/kwh and the Federal government had been subsidising SESB’s fuel costs, he said.

A decision would be made in the new year on how best to solve the issue.

There are of course a few options the Federal government should consider.

The first on the list would be for the State Government to buy back TNB’s shares and we don’t have to go far; just look at Sarawak and its SESCO under local management, it has been doing relatively well.

A Management Buy Out will ensure SESB remains in the hands of Malaysians and the workforce required would remain untouched, but this time around, a more professional approach is needed.

While there is will, there is a way.

Another consideration is for a local consortium to take over.

If all parties can agree, a Management Buy Out (MBO) is worth exploring as the personnel are in place and for the professional managers it is more appealing of being business owners than employees.

Of course politics will stand in the way when what we need is a real professional outfit to serve the consumers. Utility companies like SESB cannot function like a government department as the State’s economy depends on it.

Now, if the worst comes to the worst, there is always the China option.

A precedent has been set when 1MDB sold its power assets, Edra Global Energy Bhd to China’s General Nuclear Power Corporation.

Maybe with more environmentally-friendly technology and hopefully, efficient operations, that should keep everybody happy with uninterrupted supply.

Beggars cannot be choosers they say, with the majority of SESB’s shares in TNBs hands, what clout do we have?

WHILE IT IS TRUE THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION IS SUPREME, IS THERE ANYTHING WRONG IN ASKING FOR A REVIEW ON WHAT WAS AGREED BEFORE

Harris Salleh, the former Chief Minister, has always been in-your-face-kind-of-person; he doesn’t mince his words, calling some of our politicians “hypocrites” especially those who were with the government but now turned opposition, for harping on State’s rights. That was vintage Harris.

HARRIS SALLEH

There is some truth in what he said, for after all they were in the government. Why the sudden turnaround?

In so far as Sabah’s rights as per MA63 are concerned, not much information was out there then, until the lifting of emergency rule which came into effect after May 24, 2012.

Only then more people began to look and analyse the documents which were available on the internet and other sources.

Historical revisionism came into play here where with the availability of the documents, some people started to reinterpret the historical records and challenged the orthodox views of how Malaysia was formed.

And this has caught on with the people at large.

JEFFREY KITINGAN

Politicians are no exception.

Politicians like Jeffrey Kitingan have been in the forefront in educating the people of their rights.

Definitely he is not one of the “hypocrites”, Harris was talking about.

While it is true the Federal Constitution is supreme, is there anything wrong in asking for a review on what was agreed before? A relook at how the country was meant to be?

After all a review was supposed to have taken place ten years after the formation of the new nation, it just never happened.

It is about time to have one, it is long overdue, so that all parties are happy, as Malaysia was never about domination but it is supposed to be the coming of all interested parties on equal footing.

With this kind of information available, the politicians were not hypocrites, but definitely ignorant as research is never our strong point in this country.

With new information, they are liable to change their stand.

It is for the good of the country anyway as it strengthens the nation and people don’t feel marginalised.

With the yuletide falling on Monday, allow me to wish all Christian readers and all those who celebrate the festivity, MERRY CHRISTMAS.